California Storm Live Updates: Flooding Prompts Evacuations
Flooding is already underway in some areas. New evacuations were needed as the floodwaters rose rapidly. More than 125,000 customers lost power. Mud and rockslides are closing highways again.
Sign up for the Morning Brief email newsletter to receive weekday updates from The Weather Channel and our meteorologists.
California is once again being battered by torrential rains and damaging winds after another storm surge barreled into the state overnight.
That flooding is forcing more evacuations in areas like Santa Cruz County, south of the San Francisco Bay Area, where the San Lorenzo River reached major flood stage Monday morning and appeared to have flooded homes.
At least 12 people have died in California in storm-related incidents since storms began pounding the state several weeks ago.
(Forecast: Flood threat worsens as major storm approaches)
Here are the latest updates:
(2:42 p.m. ET) Rapid water rescue assets positioned in more than two dozen areas
The state has positioned teams and rapid water rescue equipment in about 30 locations near burn wounds and in communities at risk of major flooding. They include locations in or around: El Dorado Hills, Ukiah, Menlo Park, Los Angeles, Monterey, Oakland, Riverside, San Francisco, Sacramento and San Bernardino.
(2:01 p.m. ET) A portion of Interstate 80 is blocked by flooding
Flooding has closed a portion of Interstate 80 in the Sacramento area. The westbound lanes are closed between Longview Drive and Winters Street, according to the California Department of Transportation. Traffic cameras show a long line of backed up vehicles.
(1:52 p.m. ET) Power outages increase
More than 139,000 homes, businesses and other utility customers are without power across the state, according to PowerOutage.us. The highest outages by county are: Sacramento with 37,443; Monterey with 15,714; San Joaquin with 10,128; Yolo with 9,170.
(1:44 p.m. ET) Neighborhood flooded with muddy water
Five feet of muddy water from the San Lorenzo River has flooded streets in the Santa Cruz County community of Felton, according to The Weather Channel’s Justin Michaels. Photos showed houses and cars surrounded by water.
(1:41 p.m. ET) Evacuation orders continue to come in
More evacuations have been ordered, including the low-lying areas of the Carmel River in Monterey County.
(1:34 p.m. ET) Shelters open for evacuees
The American Red Cross has opened more than a dozen evacuation shelters, including areas around Sacramento, Santa Rosa, San Jose and Salinas.
“People come to us on the worst days of their lives, so they’re in very traumatic situations,” Red Cross Disaster Program Manager Nate Russell told CBS News.
A map of specific Red Cross shelter locations is available here.
Some communities have also opened shelters, according to a list compiled by the state emergency services office.
(1:28 pm ET) What is an atmospheric river?
An atmospheric river is a weather feature that is both a necessity and, all too often, a destructive threat—especially for those near the West Coast of the United States.
Simply put, an atmospheric river (AR) is a thin but long plume of moisture in the atmosphere that extends from the tropics or subtropics to higher latitudes.
The term was first coined in a 1994 research paper and is now widely used by meteorologists.
About 80% of California’s major flood events can be traced to ARs, although ARs accompany only 17% of West Coast storms, according to NASA.
Click here to read more on atmospheric rivers by weather.com senior meteorologist Jonathan Erdman.
(1:22 p.m. ET) Californians have been told to avoid travel
The California Department of Transportation is advising people to stay off the roads for at least the rest of today.
The agency tweeted that “travel is strongly discouraged” and advised that anyone planning to go out should think twice.
Numerous roads are closed across the state due to flooding, mudslides and other weather-related issues.
(12:49 pm ET) State Highway 17 blocked
A landslide is blocking State Highway 17 south of Glenwood Drive in Santa Cruz County, the California Highway Patrol reports.
(12:41 p.m. ET) Downtown Santa Cruz said: Be prepared to evacuate
Downtown Santa Cruz is now under an evacuation warning due to heavy rains and the rapidly rising San Lorenzo River, which runs right through the middle of the area. A warning means people should be ready to evacuate if an order is issued.
(12:26 p.m. ET) Flooding snarls motorists in Petaluma
The Petaluma Police Department says some drivers are stuck driving on flooded roads. At least eight roads are closed due to flooding in the Sonoma County town.
(12:16 p.m. ET) Capital streets flood
Traffic is being backed up on Interstate 80 in Sacramento after floodwaters spread to all westbound lanes, according to KOVR. The Capital Expressway is also seeing some flooding.
(11:41 a.m. ET) Log Jam Force bridge closure
The California Highway Patrol said one lane of State Highway 1 will be closed at the bridge crossing the San Lorenzo River because a log jam is growing in the river and needs to be removed.
(10:56 a.m. ET) The overflowing river enters the house
As the San Lorenzo River burst its banks, it sent floodwaters into homes and streets in the Felton Grove area of Santa Cruz County.
Sacramento County Evacuations
Sacramento County emergency officials ordered evacuations Sunday night in the Wilton area, where roads were inundated by flooding last week.
“Out of an abundance of caution, residents should evacuate now before roads become impassable,” the county said. “Rising water could spill onto nearby roads and cut off access to leave the area. Last weekend, exit roads quickly flooded for residents leaving Wilton, so we are urging residents to come out now.”
Monterey County Evacuations
The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office ordered evacuations in low-lying areas near the Carmel River.
Evacuation warnings in Sonoma, Santa Clara counties
In Sonoma County, residents and officials are keeping an eye on the Russian River, which is expected to reach flood stage tonight and tomorrow. The river is expected to crest in Guerneville at 32 feet Tuesday at noon.
Santa Clara County residents in the Uvas Reservoir and Pacheco Pass River Basin watersheds are also under evacuation warnings.
The storm is also damaging the state’s public enterprises. More than 125,000 homes and businesses were without power as of 8 a.m., according to poweroutage.us.
President Biden approves disaster declaration
President Joe Biden has approved Governor Gavin Newsom’s request to declare a federal emergency in California due to the storms.
Mudslides close San Luis Obispo roads
Mudslides have spread across several roads in San Luis Obispo County, the county Department of Public Works announced in a tweet. They included Lake Road, El Pomar and Moss Lane, and another in La Panza and Stage Springs. A tree is across the street at El Pomar and Old Miller.
The Weather Company’s core journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science in our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.